The world advanced in technology demands high-standard employability skills to increase productivity in the sphere of accountancy and finance. Typically, the universities try to implement different initiatives and teaching approaches towards embedding demandable skills into the degree programs. Employers tend to focus on educational background and previous experiences. Meanwhile, the main goal of the graduate is to persuade the recruiter that you have professional skills to perform well at the new job. The purpose of this paper is to define the most efficient competencies required to work in the field of accounting and finance.
Accounting and finance are among the most influential and popular spheres that undergraduates and graduates consider as a decent choice of major. Financial accounting or financial accountancy represents a specific branch of accounting that involves a process of summarizing, recording, and analyzing banking transactions related to the sphere of business (Bandy, 2018). Usually, the specialists’ primary objective is preparing financial statements that further could be publicly used by stakeholders, governmental organizations, banks, business owners, etc.
While making a report, the professionals must abide by the fundamental qualitative characteristics such as relevance and faithful presentation. Relevance presupposes the ability of the financial information to impact the choice of its users, and reliable representation deals with the actual transactional effects that must be appropriately structured and accounted for in the final statement.
Working in such an environment requires a set of specific skills to succeed in a career. Firstly, accounting demands lots of accuracy, so you have to have a detail-oriented eye to sift through loads of records to revise. Meticulous analysis often determines the accuracy of the final statement. Therefore, the primary skill to demonstrate is the ability to perceive the information analytically, and since the logical way of thinking cannot be innate, you can ensure a solid foundation by gaining analytical experience.
Analyzing is firmly connected with critical thinking. As financial accountancy tackles the issue of presenting correct details in the financial reports, it is essential to evaluate the data critically. The possibility of encountering discrepancies, errors, or imprecisions cannot be omitted. If an accountant cannot detect such mistakes, they can severely impact the client. Therefore, critical thinking should be practiced to avoid potential risks and determine the variables.
Undoubtedly, all accountants must own extensive information about financial reports and how they function. Technical knowledge of finances can shed light on different issues. For instance, ledger skills are crucial for distinguishing credits and debits; reconciliation skills help to recognize ledger or trial balance (Bandy, 2018). Studying all the sides of financial accounting significantly alleviates understanding of the issues concerning accountancy.
Generally speaking, numeracy comprehending is required to perceive and analyze graphical and numerical data, draw a conclusion, and comment on findings. Sometimes having a degree in mathematics or statistics might be useful. Moreover, no proficient accountant uses only a calculator these days. Today’s professionals rely on a range of software programs that facilitate completing different calculating operations. Most of the bookkeepers use spreadsheets, whereas researchers recommend using Microsoft Excel and other platforms to ensure that not a single number was confused or disregarded.
Though the accounting profession is, for the most part, number-orientated, it also includes a significant amount of performing writing activity. The writing part is concluded in sending e-mails, corresponding letters, and other types of written papers to non-accounting experts to provide extra details or any information. What is more, accountants need to work on drafts of financial statements or tax-return papers before dispatching the final version to recognize mistakes, or to improve the guidelines for compiling such documents.
Another crucial point to keep an eye on is organization skills. This skill implies that accountants must be sufficiently organized to meet the deadlines, follow proper guidelines, and contact multiple clients. Each financial assignment presupposes plenty of documentation, and if you are not hosted, there is a considerable risk of losing some essential papers or confusing numbers. I believe, organizational capabilities should be conceived before entering the profession, because one has to develop the skill of tracking their affairs.
The organization directly correlates with time management. Nowadays, time management has turned into a key for successful promotion in any field. Accountants tend to take on a lot of responsibilities and projects at once. In general, if an accountant decides to multitask, they should adequately assess the risks, benefits, and outcomes to ensure time management (Bandy, 2018). The capability of meeting set deadlines is the determiner of clients’ satisfaction with the work done. Time management is essential, especially during the tax season when the majority of accountants are loaded with taxation papers and have to complete all the assignments until the specified time.
What is more, researchers believe that to sustain proper analysis and optimization of financial data; it is crucial to keep up the contact with the employer, clients, and colleagues. Some people may not understand the complexity of the assignment. Therefore, the financial accountant should carefully explain the information, clarify the details, and make sure all the numbers, charts, and tables are transformed into an easily accessible narrative (Professional accountants – the future: Drivers of change and future skills, 2016). Strong communication skills provide more solid ground for the present and further relationships. Evidently, by supporting constant communication with customers or co-workers, you build trust, thus, creating your reputation as a valuable worker.
Trust building is usually a source of reliability not only concerning the relations with the client but within the team of accountants as well. Whereas some professionals prefer to work alone at the desk, others choose to collaborate in a unit to generate more positive results (Professional accountants – the future: Drivers of change and future skills, 2016). Cooperation with the colleagues proves to be efficient as all the members consider responsibilities and assignments equally, thus, ensuring the project will result in something great, and all the opinions suggested will be contemplated.
The next point to consider, if you want to apply for a financial accountant, is the ability to adapt. Like any other sphere, accountancy evolves and changes rapidly with the growth of economics. Thus, accountants should be ready for unexpected changes within their profession. It concerns not only the amendments in the documentation but the revisions within the workplace dynamics, technology advancements, new conditions for employee-customer interactions (Douglas and Gammie, 2019). Therefore, being comfortable with adjustment to new laws, rules, projects, or environments is highly essential.
Besides, it is necessary to understand that the abovementioned skills are standard requirements when you apply for a job, so apart from those standards, one must demonstrate personal qualities to prove their competence. “The work environment in today’s society is complex, constantly changes and requires a degree of resilience from all individuals to cope in building their careers” (Lees and Byrne, 2018, p. 167). It implies stability in both actions and words and the ability to adjust to everything on their way.
One of the essential personal qualities required is self-leadership. This trait does not imply merely directing your colleagues but beneficially managing the teamwork, that would bring positive outcomes (Lees and Byrne, 2018). Once the accountant takes the leading position, their goal is to motivate and organize people, delegate tasks, meet deadlines, encourage communication, and positively influence others. Moreover, the initiative is awarded, too, as it proves that a person is ready to take action when needed or asked.
The other highly appreciated personal streak is self-learning. The ability to learn is probably the most critical attribute for accountants because of the constant emerging changes (Douglas and Gammie, 2019). Self-learning represents “the ability to manage their learning and to make use of scholarly reviews and primary sources” (Douglas and Gammie, 2019, p. 28). Thus, we may assert that professionalism can be gained by embracing new inventions or materials.
Problem-solving may be considered as another personal ability to demonstrate if you want to be hired. It is the capacity of assessing the problem that emerged, looking through the possible resolutions, and picking the right approach to solve it (O’Shea, 2016). The potential employer will easily recognize your problem-solving skills and how you can address them by asking simple questions. The best thing you can do is to demonstrate your understanding of the challenge and how you can distribute the responsibilities to meet the deadline.
I consider improving my skills concerning critical and logical analysis to enhance my chances of being employed. Moreover, having these abilities equipped, I will be able to work more efficiently. I am sure these skills can be acquired through more intense practice. In general, I am ready for cooperation as my past experiences made me an influential team member capable of problem-solving, understanding the task, and meeting the set deadlines.
In conclusion, it is necessary to mention that the profession of a financial accountant is in demand these days due to the incessant development and change in economics. Thus, the specialization requires a row of employability skills and personal streaks such as critical and analytical thinking, team cooperation, organization, and communication skills. All of the previously mentioned abilities will undoubtedly demonstrate your professional and technical expertise, though it is crucial to prove that the employer can trust you and rely on you.
Bandy, G. (2018) International public financial management: essentials of public sector accounting. New York: Routledge.
Douglas, S. and Gammie, E. (2019) ‘An investigation into the development of non-technical skills by undergraduate accounting programmes’, Accounting Education, pp. 1-29. Web.
Lees, D. and Byrne, D. (2018) ‘Finance and accounting—beyond the numbers with self-leadership’, in Conway, E. and Byrne, D. (eds.) Contemporary issues in accounting: the current developments in accounting beyond the numbers. London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 167-186.
O’Shea, S. (2016) ‘Characteristics and skills necessary in accountancy’, International Journal of Business and Management, 13(1), pp. 22-32.
Professional accountants – the future: drivers of change and future skills (2016) London: ACCA.